College of Education, SciTEC host FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff
Nine teams from local high schools will work for weeks to design and build industrial-size robots in order to compete in Louisiana Tech’s inaugural FIRST Robotics Competition, hosted by the College of Education and SciTEC in the Doug and Sandra Boulware SciTEC Learning Lab.
Caroline Webb, former FIRST competitor and current student in the College of Engineering and Science, spearheaded the kickoff event.
“As a student on a FIRST Robotics Team, I experienced real-world engineering applications and hands-on learning that I would not have received in any high school classroom,” Webb said. “FIRST was more than an afterschool program. Through FIRST, I gained teamwork and leadership skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and so much more.”
Founded in 1989, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international science, technology, engineering and mathematics non-profit organization that teaches 21st century life skills and helps students become innovative problem solvers able to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.
During the Robotics Competition, teams of high school students have a six-week window to build and program their robots – all with limited resources. Through the competition, students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience in a number of areas beyond engineering. They must raise funds, design a team “brand,” and present in front of judges. To complete the challenge, they must use project management, communication, and leadership – skills that will benefit them regardless of their future careers. A volunteer professional mentor lends time and talents to guide each team along the way.
The kickoff – under this year’s theme of FIRST Destination Deep Space – marks the beginning of the design-and-build season, and the event allows teams to compare notes, get ideas, and pick up their building kits. Participants were also able to interact with students in the College of Engineering and Science’s Aerospace Engineering Club, who brought small remote control drones to the kickoff.
AXI Education Solutions also held STEM activities, game booths, and demonstrations for particiants.
“AXI always enjoys supporting SciTEC and the College of Education at Louisiana Tech,” said Lisa Dick, teaching and learning consultant with AXI. “Excitement was definitely in the air as this year’s challenge was revealed! I am eager to see the various teams’ approaches to complete this complex challenge during the competitions.”
This year marks the 30th season for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Qualifying teams at district and regional competitions have the chance to win a spot in the FRC Championship, which takes place April 14-20 in Houston and April 24-27 in Detroit.
FIRST Robotics Competition’s Carolyn Arthurs said the organization is proud to partner with Louisiana Tech.
“As our program grows in Northern Louisiana, it’s crucial to the success and sustainability of our teams to have a resource for expertise, technology, education and innovation,” Arthurs said. “Louisiana Tech not only gives us those crucial components, but also gives our students a model of excellence in education to consider for their future educational paths.”
To volunteer as a mentor for local teams, email Arthurs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about ways you can partner with the College of Education on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics outreach efforts, email our SciTEC team at email@example.com.